In the past, in certain circles, a woman’s name was only supposed to be mentioned in the newspapers three times: birth, marriage, death.
I feel much the same about hospitals and the maximum should be three: birth, childbirth, death. This list is flexible downwards. There is no need to have any of these three events in hospital. As to myself, my birth sufficed. It was noteworthy at the time as I was the largest baby delivered at that hospital up to that point – a whopping 9 lbs., 8 oz. Very healthy indeed. In fact, record breaking for that hospital at the time! Since I did not have children, no hospital for me.
However, things appear to be changing. Dr. F, my neurologist, told me when I first started this journey almost 10 years ago, that there appeared to be some issues with my spine. If it wasn’t going to definitively help my walking, then why bother. Well, Things Fall Apart. I have been back for my second surgical consult. This practice lets you know in no uncertain terms if you are 15 minutes late, your appointment is forfeited. Despite having left early, I hit construction and traffic. Having made up my mind, I want this done as soon as possible. I gimped in five minutes before my appointment and then waited for over 2 hours! Not fun and definitely stress making. Surprisingly, my blood pressure was 90/50; repeat 90/50. I am normally low but never this low. And surprisingly, they were good with that. The first time I had Rituxin, they were freaking at 100.
The surgeon enters along with the resident, who is under the impression we have met before – so not a good sign. If I was still in my youth, this would not have been disturbing as I was highly visible and was all around. Now, in my little old lady mode, NOT. The surgeon pops my latest MRIs and scans into the computer. I do not like seeing these. One, they are ugly and I do not do ugly. Two, I really do not understand what I am seeing. So, why look? Now, Tom is a different story entirely. The surgeon pops up my lumbar spine MRI and announces that it’s arthritic but I am old and that’s normal. Who’s old? Yes, there’s edema . So, yes I have fractured my tailbone. Too bad. There’s nothing to be done and it won’t impact the surgery. Now, he brings up my neck. I feel like a skeleton. It looks like one for sure. I have become my own Dia de las Muertes. Tom is fascinated. He tells the surgeon it’s just like reading a blueprint. Dr. B agrees and they are off on a tangent on elevator construction (Tom’s old career) and blueprints. Well, the fracture they thought they saw in my neck is not new and apparently healed. These latest tests indicate that surgery will be through the front of my neck aka my throat. I am not reassured that this is positive although he assures me it is better. It doesn’t sound that way to me but who am I? The patient? What are the downsides? Well, since they are going in through my throat, nicking my caratoid? As an old boss used to say, “oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen.” Not likely. My voice could go down an octave. It can be low to begin with. I used to work on a phone line and people used to call back and demand to talk to Steven, me. It’s not the worst outcome. I may not be able to swallow, briefly. I did want to drop a few pounds before the New Year so in a twisted way that works. And of course, smoothies always work for me. In terms of positive things, I won’t be one of those old ladies who can’t raise her chin from her chest. Also, he is confident that my balance will improve. Also, from what he describes about this impingement, I am cautiously optimistic that I will improve.
Also, on the positive side is that this is normally an outpatient procedure. However, since I am “special” ( I tell him, “No. I am unique.” which discombobulates him) I will have to stay overnight. Tom’s scheme is to not leave the hospital while I am there. He will hide and/or stay in the cafeteria. I anticipate strong painkillers, so whatever. It is sweet though
Next rant. My neurologist, Dr. F needs to sign off on it. Since she is female I continually refer to her with feminine pronouns which he ignores and continually references he and him. He needs to get “him” on the phone as “she” needs to sign off on this surgery. Considering she has advocated for this for 10 years, I do not envision problems. I feel comfortable with his arrogance, a necessary trait in a surgeon.
I am scheduled for December 11 which is just about perfect. I was able to conduct my last Elves Workshop, traditionally held Thanksgiving Friday; Hanukah, Christmas tree purchase (the joys of being interfaith), my tea vendor show and our annual holiday centerpiece class. I know I am lucky that this is only my second stay in hospital. And on the upside, maybe I’ll buy blouses instead of pullovers?